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Miami Heat 114, Houston Rockets 108: Two is Better than One

The Houston Rockets landed in Miami with the intention of taking off again. Following their historic shooting performance against the Warriors the previous night, Houston shot 58.8% on the night and kept pace with the East-best Heat, racking up 30 points in the first and 108 overall. James Harden went berserk late to close a gap, but the Heat just had too much firepower. Harden may have dropped a superstar line, but Miami got that from both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, proving too much for Houston to handle.

The Heat were missing star forward Chris Bosh due to flue-like symptoms, but that didn’t stop them from rolling on both sides of the ball. Houston can claim the absence of bench sharpshooter Carlos Delfino, and the toil of a set of back to back games, but the difference was that the Heat simply executed when it mattered. When LeBron was quiet early, Dwyane Wade attacked. When Wade cooled off in the second and third, LeBron James stepped up and sank daggers into the Rockets’ chest. James Harden did all he could on offense, but the twin lines for Miami’s twin stars (32 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists for James, 31 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals for Wade) was eventually insurmountable.

James Harden also started relatively slow, but by the end of the third, he was taking over the game on Houston’s end. After early runs in both the third and fourth quarters from Miami, Harden took off, and ended up with close to a triple double: 36 points on 10-16 shooting, 4-7 threes, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals (and 4 turnovers). Harden continues to mature, and with the exception of a pesky turnover problem (which he shares with the team), has clearly earned his All-Star berth. He scored 11 of the Rockets’ last 13 points, including three free throws to cut the lead to 3, and then a huge 3 pointer to cut it to 3 again. Despite trailing by as much as 16 in the third, Houston nearly stole the game, and Harden was the main reason why.

Asik brought home another 15 point, 14 rebound line. He’s getting so regular with his double doubles that it’s more notable when he fails to notch one, and that’s great for Houston. Asik still looks awkward at best when posting up or trying to use “finesse” around the cup, but his shot percentages are great (7-11 tonight), and he’s happy to subsist mostly on dunks and putbacks. Asik’s following the Tyson Chandler path to success, and the Rockets are happy to watch him do it.

Patrick Patterson still can’t rebound (3 total in 34 minutes), but he sure does everything else. He had great shot selection, and his all-around range served him well: 7-12 shooting for 15 points. Patterson also hustled down loose balls, hustled to his spots, and looked capable on defense yet again. It’s hard to believe that his starting spot seemed in jeopardy a few short weeks ago. He may not grab enough boards, but his skill set on both sides of the ball is a huge asset for Houston, and he even looks a little better when posting up.

Chandler Parsons sat at the end of the game, despite having  a very solid shooting night: 13 points on 6-9 shooting. He picked up 5 fouls trying to guard two of the most unguardable players in the game in James and Wade, and this gave James Anderson a chance to play important minutes. While Parsons’ defense is down a bit, his man defense still looks solid, and he’ll bounce back from what is a mediocre night for him.

Jeremy Lin came out aggressive and had a few impressive layups, but missed the majority of his shots as teh night progressed (3-10). He still managed more points than attempts (13), but 3 assists and 2 turnovers is a poor evening for him. Chalmers played hard on both ends of the ball, and the Heat once again clamped down on Lin after he played well in February. Given how his recent momentum, hopefully he’ll be able to get his confidence back against less disruptive defenses.

The Rockets’ bench played poorly across the board, with Toney Douglas having the best outing: 3-7 shooting and 7 points. Douglas hit a three, stole the ball and then layed it up on consecutive possessions… and then only scored two more. James Anderson played extensive minutes (28:20) with Delfino and Parsons out of his way. Unfortunately, he only made two baskets in seven tries for six points. Anderson has shot well when open, but he forces the issue and finds himself lost at the cup too often. there’s no reason to believe he can’t be worked into a serviceable backup, but right now Houston will be glad when Carlos Delfino’s elbow heals up (Right elbow strain).

Despite being another tally in the L column, the Rockets showed a lot of good signs. Despite 16 turnovers, and despite trailing by 16 at one point, the Rockets closed it up to 3 (twice) against one of the most brutal, aggressive defenses in the league. The reigning champion Heat had to step up and work to put away the pesky Rockets, which is a fine pedigree for such a young team. Two weeks ago, the Rockets looks lost and sloppy on the second nights of back to backs. Tonight, they looked like a solid team. Two superstars may beat one, but Houston might not be stuck at one forever.

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Total comments: 18
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago I just read that article. Good stuff. I actually posted some quotes from it on the thread on Harden's defense as I felt a few paragraphs from that shed some interesting light on how he is playing this year. In short, Miami exposed his weakness in last year's finals and Houston is protecting him from it until he can learn to overcome it. As Harden says in the article, “I’m in a totally different role...I have to find a way to master this role I’m in now.”

    All of this pleases me.
  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago Amacbrooks here is a link to a good article Windhorst wrote about Harden today. This guy has been watching and reporting LeBron since he was a kid and probably has rarely ever seen anyone outduel LeBron. I did not watch the game but it would appear that maybe in some people's opinion The Bearded One outplayed The King in the fourth quarter.

  • amacbrooks12 says 1 YEAR ago You're not alone Rahat, I felt really good about Dwayne Wade's comment after the game saying "that team is hard to guard". But the cherry on top was how both Lebron James and Dwayne Wade agree that James Harden is in the superstar category.
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago i was watching the highlight package of this game on sportscenter and spoelstra was saying something like "....well, they didn't put up 140 on us. they can really put up some points."

    i felt proud. we are mediocre, but we have an identity.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago Good points. I see both as future all stars and Parsons has made the most of his situation. The Spurs system works well because each player does their own role and not to try and force the issue. That's when I see Parsons at his best, so he would do well in Pop's system but he would not have gotten the opportunity since his defense isn't at kawhi's level, so I think both had a good opportunity "for them"
  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago I like Parsons over Leonard. Both are good with upside but Leonard had the advantage of dropping into a system that really was tailor made for him and maybe even made him better whereas Parsons excelled in a chaotic team situation that was anything but stable. We can all see this year that Parsons has seized the moment and become a leader on a young up and coming team whereas Leonard has been good though inconsistent even with Pop's system to fall back on.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago ah, I remember...did not read it though. I don't put too much stock in the talking heads from ESPN.....Bill Simmons gives better analysis than most of them...and he is a humorist first.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago I like Parsons and think he has the potential to be an all-star if he continues growing, I just don't think he's as good as Leonard. And you're right about ESPN hating everything dealing with the Spurs/Pacers/etc... non dunking, fundamentals driven teams. I just think that with his defense, he should get more respect than he does. And it wasn't out of the blue, there was part of an article on here about Parsons v. Leonard.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago

    timetodienow1234567, on 07 February 2013 - 17:25 PM said:

    I can't believe that some people actually believe that Parsons is better than Leonard. It baffles me. Leonard is lightyears better defensively and has added a 3 point shot. While Chandler is a little better offensively at this point, I am dumbfounded with how little respect Kawhi gets from ESPN.


    Looks pretty similar here....kawhi has a slight edge in numbers.... (be sure to click on 2012-2013 tab...the jump resets to first year stats)

    I will repeat something I stated in another thread about the Spurs. It is easy to look good and play better when you are on the court with Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, etc. and coached by Pops. Imagine a high IQ guy like Parsons on the Spurs...guarantee Pop would love to have him.

    ESPN "dislikes" him the same way they "dislike" Tony Parker. San Antonio is off the radar and not "sexy" enough for TV. No one cares outside of a 100 mile radius.

    Oh, and I like Parsons over Leonard.
  • sircharles says 1 YEAR ago

    timetodienow1234567, on 07 February 2013 - 17:25 PM said:

    I can't believe that some people actually believe that Parsons is better than Leonard. It baffles me. Leonard is lightyears better defensively and has added a 3 point shot. While Chandler is a little better offensively at this point, I am dumbfounded with how little respect Kawhi gets from ESPN.

    get out of here, spurs fan. just kidding. but what are you talking about? leonard is great but before january was VERY inconsistent
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago I can't believe that some people actually believe that Parsons is better than Leonard. It baffles me. Leonard is lightyears better defensively and has added a 3 point shot. While Chandler is a little better offensively at this point, I am dumbfounded with how little respect Kawhi gets from ESPN.
  • Alituro says 1 YEAR ago The Heat use Battier perfectly. There's no one in the league that can slow LeBron down and very few can stay in front of Wade. To win last night would have been a matter of simply outscoring the Heat rather than trying hard to stop them. Unfortunately outscoring even the Bobcats is hard to do on the second night of a B2B on the road. We played good otherwise and a couple little things to go different and we may have stole a win, but oh well.

    Other than the Heat, the Rockets are better than the entire rest of the EC, hands down.
  • phaketrash says 1 YEAR ago Lin's play is inconsistent, but he's young and learning and prob changing what he practiced in the offseason. I think by the end of this season, or at least the upcoming offseason, Lin will be worth his contract and more. Not saying all star, just worth more than he's paid.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 YEAR ago The Heat played good team defense. That resulted in a +6 turnover margin for them. Assuming they converted 50% of those into points--which is 6 points--that was the difference in the score right there. A +10 free throw advantage didn't hurt either. Given those two "setbacks", the Rockets played great and, hopefully, learned a little lesson from Miami about defense.

    I'm still waiting for the "law of averages" to catch up with Houston...it is nearly inevitable that soon after a game where everyone's numbers are sky-high there will come a stinker to balance it out.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 YEAR ago Yeah Lin struggled, no doubt. But Chalmers is a great defender. Lin is not an all-star. He's getting better though. I like him much more this second half than the 1st part of the season.
  • thenit says 1 YEAR ago Harden had a great game offensively and was really the only one who could create his own shot. Lin had the same problem with Heat;s stifling p
  • Jeby says 1 YEAR ago The biggest silver lining for me was seeing Harden walk onto the court against Lebron James and Dwayne Wade and walk off after posting a 36/23/7 game. Considering the doubts around him after last year's Finals, that shows he belongs in the club.
  • amacbrooks12 says 1 YEAR ago Our main problem tonight was defense. We couldn't get any stops late in the game when it most mattered, and kept fouling which had them in the bonus much of that fourth quarter. Despite scoring 108 points tonight, our offense was not good. We missed Carlos Delfino in this game bad, there was no type of spacing on the floor when our guards penetrated. And as I watched the game there was a lot of isolation plays, but we still managed to move the ball well on other possessions and score in the paint without good floor spacing. But honestly, if it wasn't for Harden catching fire from the 3 point line in that 4th quarter, we most likely would've been blown out. However, it was a good game and I enjoyed watching. Im sure we'll learn from this and move on. Nothing wrong with losing to the world champs.

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